Written in exile in Uruguay, 1838 “Deh fate un corpo sol di membri amici, Fare un capo che gli altri indirizzi e frene.” —Gerusalemme Liberata.
Protect, O Lord, our glorious heritage!
Now by thine aid delivers from the yoke
Of many a weary age.
Thy never-ceasing bounty we invoke
To make us truly free;
To guard and guide our hard-won liberty.
Let it not fade, the young and tender shoot,
In the hot bread of faction’s withering blast;
Let us but grasp one fruit,
One little humble one, and hold it fast.
We are but yet new-born;
Have we deserved the fate of States outworn?
Save us, we pray thee; the temptation spare
That on America’s ambition waits;
And warn us of the snare,
That caught our sister of the silver gates,
Fairer and proper then,
But now an outcast for the scorn of men.
Send here the pair divine, Concord and Peace,
Daughters of Virtue, driven from the West.
Let strife and hatred cease,
And then our country shall be doubly blest.
In Law's benignant shade,
Science and Art shall prosper unafraid.
Before their radiant, all-pervading light,
Like sunrise breaking over hill and plain,
Will fly the ghosts of night;
Blind Superstition and Intolerance vain.
The Faith of Freedom born,
Shall come upon the pinions of the morn.
No more the brazen trumpet’s summons wild
Shall waken terror o’er the startled lea;
The mother and her child
Shall rest at eve beneath the twilight tree;
And from the smiling fields,
The peasant gather all his labor yields.
But now the poet’s lyre exults no more;
Sadly it answers to his failing hand.
Yet on a foreign shore,
Have I no prayer for thee, my native land?
For Argentina rings
No chord of hope along its silver strings?
Speak her name tenderly, not to upbraid,
But with the heart to pity and regret;
And draw forgiving shade,
Over the sins that we may not forget.
For her there yet may be,
A resurrection day we shall not see.
Give her your prayers, sons of the happier East,
When on the altar bounteous gifts you lay,
On your Thanksgiving feast.
And in return will grateful exiles pray
“For many a coming age
Protect, O Lord, our glorious heritage!”
From Pan American Poems: An Anthology (The Gorham Press, 1918) by Agnes Blake Poor. This poem is in the public domain.